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Cablegate: Ankara Media Reaction Report

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DEPARTMENT FOR INR/R/MR, EUR/SE, EUR/PD, NEA/PD, DRL
JCS PASS J-5/CDR S. WRIGHT

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OPRC KMDR TU
SUBJECT: ANKARA MEDIA REACTION REPORT
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 18, 2007


In Today's Papers

Debate over New Constitution Draft
Mainstream papers report the AK Party is struggling to find an
appropriate formula for the draft constitution that would ease the
ban on headscarves in universities. Government Spokesman Cemil
Cicek said Monday the new constitution was not prepared for the AKP,
but for all of Turkey. Cicek accused the critics of "sabotaging"
the draft by putting all their emphasis on the controversial issue
of the headscarf. Mainstream Milliyet says the headscarf issue was
the focus of controversy in the new draft constitution. Mainstream
Vatan says the constitution commission was inclined to allow attire
"consistent with sociological realities." The final decision on the
issue will be made by Prime Minister Erdogan.

Papers also report the AKP is to consult with the European Union on
Turkey's draft new constitution prepared by a group of academics and
the ruling party members before it was made public for debates in
Turkey. Dengir Mir Mehmet Firat, the AKP deputy chairman in charge
of the commission which drafted the constitution, will meet
ambassadors of EU countries to give details about draft
constitution. On Tuesday, a Turkish Foreign Ministry (MFA)
delegation will hold a meeting with EU Troika representatives in
Lisbon, detailing them about the draft. Opposition leader Deniz
Baykal lashed out at the government for informing EU ambassadors in
Ankara on the draft before consulting the opposition.

Erdogan Due to Visit the US
All papers report Prime Minister Erdogan will go to the US on
Thursday to participate in UN General Assembly (UNGA) meetings.
Before arriving in New York, Erdogan will visit his newly born
grandson in Washington. On September 24-25 Erdogan will participate
in UNGA talks in New York. The PM might hold a brief meeting with
President Bush on the sidelines of the summit. Erdogan will also
come together with 25 leaders including French President Sarkozy,
Pakistani President Musharraf, German Chancellor Merkel, and British
Prime Minister Brown. On September 26 Erdogan will open the New
York Stock Exchange, and deliver a speech at the Turkish-American
Association (TAA) later on the same day. On September 28 he will
join a meeting at Clinton Foundation and will meet the Democrat
presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton who will host a Ramadan "Iftar"
dinner in his honor. Erdogan will return to Turkey on September 29.
Erdogan is to pay a second visit to the US to meet with President
Bush later in the year, according to papers.

Editorial Commentary on Erdogan's US Visit
Hakan Aygun comments in the conservative daily Bugun: "Prime
Minister Erdogan is leaving soon for the United Nations General
Assembly meetings. However the real purpose of this trip is to have
a chat with President Bush. In other words, it is hoped that his
stand up with President Bush will set the ground for a future
tte-`-tte at the White House. Turkey's plan is to revive the
strategic partnership which really wound down after March 1, 2003.
The ruling AKP seems determined to turn it back up like the old
days, and PM Erdogan wants to hear President Bush utter the words
"Turkish-American strategic partnership." Considering the timing of
this effort which comes right before the probable Iran operation, it
seems we are just heading toward more trouble."

DTP Concerned Investigations May Lead to Party Closure
All papers report Turkey's main Kurdish party DTP deputy chairman
Selma Irmak has expressed concern over the investigations initiated
against her party, saying other parties had been disbanded as a
result of similar investigations in the past. "We call for an end
to the legal and societal pressures placed on our party, and for
dialogue. The presence of the DTP in the parliament is a historic
opportunity for Turkey," Irmak said.

Turkey's top state prosecutor has recently launched a probe into the
DTP over its leader Ahmet Turk's allegation that the Turkish

ANKARA 00002364 002 OF 003


military used chemical weapons against PKK fighters in the mainly
Kurdish southeast. The Turkish General Staff (TGS) has denied the
accusation. The case opened by the chief prosecutor of Turkey's
Appeals Court raises the possibility that DTP could eventually
suffer the same fate as other pro-Kurdish parties and be shut down,
papers comment.

President Gul to Northern Cyprus
Hurriyet, Vatan, Radikal and others report that on his first visit
abroad as President, Abdullah Gul departs for the Turkish Republic
of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) today. His wife Hayrunnisa Gul, who has
kept a low profile so far, will accompany Gul on the visit. This
will be the first time that First Lady will be part of the
Presidential protocol.

FM Babacan: Reform Process will Continue
Zaman, Milliyet, Sabah, Radikal and others: FM and Chief EU
negotiator Ali Babacan met with the high level bureaucrats of all
public institutions at the EU Secretariat General and said that the
EU reform process will continue and a new program will be prepared
for the country's EU accession process. Babacan added that for EU
negotiations new detailed programs covering three-month periods will
be prepared and that the EU target will let Turkey reach universal
standards in issues like democracy, fundamental rights and freedoms,
and supremacy of law.

Editorial Commentary on Greek Elections
Sami Kohen writes in the mainstream daily Milliyet: "Greek PM
Karamanlis won the election with a slight margin and will be able to
rule another four years. The main question is this: will he be able
to make domestic reforms as promised and will he be powerful enough
to take necessary actions internationally? He and his party will
certainly face a more challenging period ahead since the ruling
party is now going to be challenged by three opposition parties,
ranging from far right to left. One of the peculiar points for
Turkey was the fact that unlike previous election campaigns, neither
the Karamanlis nor Papandreou parties used the Cyprus issue as a
propaganda tool. The campaign primarily focused on economic issues
and reforms. Let's hope that Karamanlis shows leadership and takes
the necessary steps to improve bilateral ties with Turkey. The
never-realized trip by Karamanlis to Turkey, hopefully, can happen
this time."

TV News:
NTV

Domestic News

- The first person arrested in the case involving a foiled car bomb
attack in Ankara last week is a supporter of the outlawed PKK.

- Folk singer Ismail Turut's musical tribute to the killers of
Armenian-Turkish journalist Hrant Dink has sparked a criminal
investigation and protests from human rights groups.

- The prosecutor has decided to ask for a nine-year prison sentence
for a police officer held responsible for the killing of Nigerian
citizen Festus Okey in Beyoglu police station in the heart of
Istanbul.

- Security forces killed a PKK terrorist in a clash in the eastern
city of Igdir, the Governor's Office said on Monday. A landmine
believed to have been planted by the PKK injured three security
members in the southeastern city of Sirnak.

International News

- The European Local and Regional Administration Congress criticized
Turkey for the removal from office of the pro-Kurdish DTP mayor of
Sur district in Diyarbakir, Abdullah Demirtas.

ANKARA 00002364 003 OF 003

- Dutch Foreign Minister Maxime Verhagen said the Netherlands would
support European Union sanctions over Iran's nuclear program if the
UN Security Council fails to agree on new measures.

- Andrey Lugovoy, former KGB operative and billionaire businessman
who is wanted by Britain on suspicion of killing Kremlin critic
Alexander Litvinenko, said on Monday he would stand for election to
parliament.

- Microsoft has lost its appeal against a record Euro 497 million
fine imposed by the European Commission in a long-running
competition dispute.

WILSON

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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